Piano crescendo

April 03, 2005

This has been an exceptionally rich season for piano fans, and it's not over. Here are some of the notable keyboard artists performing in the area during the next few weeks:

Evgeny Kissin - The sensational Russian pianist, who moved from child prodigy to mature artist without skipping a beat (he's 33 now), plays works by Chopin, Medtner and Stravinsky in recitals at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda (202-785-9727) and 7:30 p.m. April 14 at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (410-783-8000)

Elisso Virsaladze - One of Russia's most respected pianists and teachers returns to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for performances of Beethoven's Concerto No. 4 with conductor Yuri Temirkanov at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 3 p.m. April 10 at the Meyerhoff (410-783-8000); and 8 p.m. Saturday at the Music Center at Strathmore (877-276-1444). Virsaladze will also be the pianist in a recital by top-notch Russian cellist Natalia Gutman in sonatas by Beethoven, Strauss and Rachmaninoff at 7:30 p.m. at Shriver Hall (410-516-7164).

Hanny Schmid Wyss - The prize-winning Swiss pianist performs works by Handel, Mendelssohn, Schumann and an intriguing, much less encountered 20th-century Russian composer, Alexander Tcherepnin, at 3 p.m. Saturday at An die Musik (410-385-2638).

Benjamin Pasternack - This highly regarded pianist and Peabody Conservatory faculty member will balance works by Scarlatti, Beethoven and Schumann with contemporary fare by two of his colleagues - Peabody director Robert Sirota and eminent British-born composer and teacher Nicholas Maw. The recital is at 8 p.m. April 20 at Peabody (410-659-8100, ext. 2)

Marc Ponthus - The French-born pianist and new-music specialist, acclaimed for his survey of the imaginative and challenging solo piano music of Pierre Boulez and Karlheinz Stockhausen, will perform two Boulez sonatas in a free recital at 8 p.m. April 21 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (410-455-2787).

- Tim Smith

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